World Water Forum 9: “We need to act and now, because there is no green without blue and life is blue”

Short reflection by Maimouna Diop, a Senegalese Young Water Professional who chaired Session 2a4 “Rural Water Supply Management Models” at the World Water Forum 2022, on behalf of RWSN.

Maimouna Diop, Ing. MBA, PMP

This forum is definitely the most impactful ever. Dakar has been the capital of water for 6 days.

Young people have been mobilized around the world to show their commitments. We will live through difficult times in the coming decades: resources will become scarce, demography will experience an exponential rise and funding will be difficult to mobilize due to the global crisis we are already experiencing. The expected action is therefore human and it is now. We must be at the heart of politics by investing ourselves intellectually and physically.

Just a quick reminder : issues related to water control and food security in Senegal were discussed 39 years ago, during a session at the National Assembly on April 14, 1983, with the late Minister Samba Yela Diop (May his soul rest in peace). It simply means that water security is nothing new and that our elders knew how to sound the alarm at an early stage. We have to be as benevolent as our elders to identify new challenges to be met in the coming years.

Understanding the issues related to water will ensure that appropriate decisions can be made and for future generations.

We need to act and now, because there is no green without blue and life is blue.


Session Presentations:

RWSN updates February 2022 and upcoming events

Dear RWSN members

We hope you all had a great start to 2022. The year is already going in full swing, and we would like to share some RWSN updates and upcoming events with you. 

My name is Tommy Ka Kit Ngai and I am the Head of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at WaterAid UK. At the RWSN Executive Steering Committee on 27 January, I was honoured to accept the role of RWSN Chair for the remainder of WaterAid’s tenure. I have been a RWSN member for about 10 years and have always been encouraged by the unwavering commitment of fellow RWSN members to collaborate and support each other in bringing sustainable and reliable water supplies to all rural people.  Collectively, we have a world-leading, immense pool of knowledge and experience in rural WASH.  I am thrilled to be here. I look forward to learning from and working alongside with all of you.   

Thank you, Louisa Gosling and SDC 

  • It is with much sadness that Louisa Gosling stepped down as Chair of RWSN due to health issues as of December 2021. We thank her so much for her great leadership and passion for the network, and in particular, she worked tirelessly with the Leave no One Behind theme and has been a great advocate of RWSN over the last ten years. We wish her strength and good health in her next chapter. 
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has supported this network since the beginning when we were founded as the Handpump Technology Network in 1992. Thanks to their steadfast partnership, RWSN has grown from a mailing list of a few dozen engineers to a diverse, global network of nearly 14,000 individuals and more than a hundred organisations in 167 countries. The RWSN Strategy, Roadmap and ongoing governance review are setting the network on an exciting new path and we will share more details in future updates. SDC’s strategic orientation is shifting and with it our modality of collaboration. We thank the SDC Global Programme Water for providing exceptional support over the last 30 years, and to Dr Daniel Maselli in particular who has been a great ally and guide over the last few years. Switzerland remains committed to improving global water security and we look forward to continuing our partnership in new ways. 

 
Welcome to Ndeye Awa Diagne, Dr. Amita Bhakta, WHO and USAID – and “Data for Action” 

  • Ms Ndeye Awa Diagne (“Awa”) has joined the RWSN executive committee. Awa is a Water and Sanitation Specialist at the World Bank in Washington DC, with 10 years experience, including 6 with the World Bank and 2 at the Société Nationale des Eaux du Sénégal. Her current responsibilities include managing the Bank’s internal community of practice on rural WASH. Linkedin  
  • New Leave No One Behind (LNOB) theme co-lead Dr. Amita Bhakta. Amita is a Freelance Consultant in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); Website: Amita Bhakta – Hidden WASHLinkedIn   
  • Welcome to our new RWSN project partners, USAID, who are funding REAL-Water, a five year research programme on rural water headed by Aquaya Institute with KNUST Ghana, ATREESafe Water NetworkAguaconsult and Water Mission
  • We are delighted to be collaborating with WHO as they prepare to finalise and publish “Guidelines For Small Drinking-Water Supplies: Policy Guidance And Supporting Tools”. Look out for more updates later in the year! 
  • Finally, the RWSN Theme “Monitoring and Mapping” will be changing its name to  “Data for Action”; the change will be effective over the course of this year. 

    Upcoming events 
  • On 22nd March we celebrate World Water Day. This year the theme is “Groundwater: making the invisible, visible”. You can take part in the celebration and raise awareness on groundwater by checking the website: https://www.worldwaterday.org/. There are many materials available for download to share with your community and networks, raising awareness on groundwater. RWSN also has a wealth of resources related to Groundwater, see below. 
  • 9th World Water Forum, Dakar – RWSN is delighted to be hosting French/English Session 2A4 on Rural Water Supply Management Models in Room 3 at 9am on 22 March. For those coming to the Dakar, we look forward to welcoming you to this great session, with interesting case studies from Morocco, Madagascar, Senegal, Ghana and Uptime and panellists including the Director General of Water from the Government of Spain. https://www.worldwaterforum.org/  
     

    RWSN resources related to Groundwater 
  • Does your organisation drill boreholes, or perhaps fund others to drill?  If so, check out the wealth of materials on borehole drilling on the RWSN website: https://tinyurl.com/waterdrilling 
  • Do you want a quick, and easy introduction to borehole siting, supervision, procurement and drilling itself?  If so, then watch these very short animated films (available in English and French): https://vimeo.com/channels/drilling 
  • Want to know about how to unlock the potential of groundwater in Africa, then check out this short film: https://vimeo.com/582160363 
  • Are you looking for ways to support access to groundwater at a low cost? Then you should find out if manual drilling is an option? This is a good place to start: https://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/sustainable-groundwater-management/manual-drilling 
  • Want to learn about professional drilling from other RWSN members and partners? There is an archive of presentations and webinars available here: https://vimeo.com/channels/1432819 
  • Do you have questions or concerns about using solar-powered water systems to pump groundwater? This is a good place to start: https://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/sustainable-groundwater-management/solar  

     

    New Groundwater Publications from RWSN and in collaboration with others 

    Dr Kerstin Danert, co-lead of Sustainable Groundwater Development Theme has been extremely busy over the last year and involved in lead and co-author roles on several key publications that will be published over the next month:  

Best regards,

RWSN Chair and secretariat

Resilience of Water Supply in Practice: Experiences from the Frontline

Guest blog by Leslie Morris-Iverson and St. John Day

The protracted Covid-19 pandemic has restricted international travel, cancelled or shifted international conferences on-line and confined many of us to working from home. These changes, along with an awareness of growing and intersecting threats to water supply means it is increasingly important to hear the voices and learn from the experiences of practitioners who continue to work on the frontline. We have edited a book “Resilience of Water Supply in Practice: Experiences from the Frontline” (published at the end of 2021) to help us listen to those voices, people working for utilities, contractors, catchment organizations, or non-governmental authorities, on how they are implementing to address these increasingly complex resilience challenges.

Many service providers are striving to improve the resilience of their water supply services in some very challenging environments. This refers to improving or maintaining service levels, so they can resist, recover from and withstand multiple growing pressures and shocks, such as increased water demands, aged and crumbling infrastructure, environmental pressures (including climate change) and natural or human-made disasters.

In the book, we highlight there needs to be renewed focus on strengthening resilience to raise service levels and improve professional standards of service. If service levels decline or systems breakdown there will be little prospect of getting at least basic services to people, let alone the more ambitious target of safe, adequate and affordable water supply services for all.

To improve resilience, service providers need to imagine what a resilient water supply service will look like. They should conceptualise the key factors that underpin resilience and introduce approaches that will strengthen each component. They also need to ensure inter-linkages between these component parts. This requires detailed analysis of water resources, high quality infrastructure – fit for the local context, strong management arrangements and an adaptive or iterative approach so that learning, adjustments and improvements are continuous. This means decision-makers and service providers should be concerned with wider systems strengthening work, but at the same time they must also identify immediate actions and areas where they can achieve maximum impact.  This is often referred to as ‘doing the right thing and doing it right’.

In the book we present several case studies from different contexts. It consists of eight different examples, contributed by different authors, all of whom are highly experienced in water supply service provision. Each case study brings a different context, challenge, experiences and some practical findings and conclusions. Examples range from: managing water demand in the United Kingdom, to the Cape Town water crisis, to rebuilding water supply services in Freetown; from the challenges of rural water supply in Eastern Sudan, Tajikistan and Iraq, to improving service levels in post emergency situations.

This network is devoted to the important issue of rural water supply. Over the past decade or so, there have been numerous studies highlighting underperformance and shortcomings in community-based maintenance approaches. In this book many of the challenges faced by utilities are highlighted, and, in our opinion, much work is required to improve service levels and increase customer satisfaction. One of the main challenges, as demonstrated in the Sierra Leone case study, is how to strengthen resilience in a systematic manner, when development projects are short term, projects are pre-conceived and often fail to address the most critical problems the utility is facing.

One of the main conclusions from the book is that resilience is being improved through an iterative and adaptive approach. Frontline operators often need to start by ‘doing what they can with what they have,’ while setting realistic and achievable targets. There must be a strong focus on ensuring interventions are relevant to the local context and implemented professionally to prevent reworking and excessive costs. In editing the book, the importance listening to service providers who really are on the frontline – has become ever apparent.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to this book being published and for assisting in making the book open access.

What I’ve learned in 10 years of working to make water, sanitation and hygiene inclusive

by Louisa Gosling on 3 December 2021 on WaterAid WASHmatters, originally a keynote speech at the 42nd WEDC Conference

Are we doing enough to make water, sanitation and hygiene services as inclusive as possible? Louisa Gosling shares her reflections on how far we have come, and what else we need to achieve.

I started working on equality, inclusion and rights in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in 2011. The challenge then, as it is now, was to do three things:

  • To raise awareness of inequalities and exclusion by encouraging people working on WASH to think about the different needs of different people and understand the barriers they face.
  • To develop the skills and confidence of WASH professionals.
  • To get WASH professionals to recognise the limits of their expertise so that they reach out to others who can help find solutions.
Continue reading “What I’ve learned in 10 years of working to make water, sanitation and hygiene inclusive”

Candles and Rockets – low cost household solutions for better water and air quality

My name is Reid Harvey. I’m a ceramic industrial designer who has been working in water purification and energy efficient cook stoves for 30 years across Africa and Southern Asia, largely with local village potters.

Forming a candle filter in Burundi. (Photo: R. Harvey)

The current challenges of climate change, the pandemic and supply chain issues have struck deeply in the developing world and low-income communities. I’ve developed community water purification systems using granulated media and refined candle water filter design and production with a view to its open technology and standardization.

My life work has been to empower low-income potters and their neighbors by training them in improved ceramic processes and products. This starts in their use of local materials to make candle water filters and insulating rocket stoves. I have also trained this same population in production of biomass briquettes for use in these stoves. Because the stove gives no smoke at all, use of these briquetrtes as fuel prevents their need to cut trees for fuel or for production of charcoal. Importantly, solid fuel can indeed be burned cleanly.

Recently, while do training in Burundi, I had two breakthroughs in this work. In candle filter production, a new forming process was developed to both speed production and increase product consistency.

In production of insulating rocket stoves, a new process simplifies production of the insulating bricks. The highly energy efficient burn prevents smoke, essentially eliminating indoor pollution. A new design for the insulating rocket stove makes this portable, with upper liners for cook pots of whatever size.

Others might agree that these interventions, training the potters and their neighbors to produce the products they need, can lead to significant impacts in accomplishing nearly all of the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs.

Building local capacity, the local economy and engaging the community in behavior change appears to be far more sustainable than sending such products into a community and leaving them reliant on external donations for the future.

I’m holding a webinar on Monday, November 22 at 10:00 am, New York time to review the breakthroughs referenced above and gather feedback about implementation strategies that would make these approaches more widespread. The link is below.

I hope you can find time to join this important conversation
Please join us for the webinar, Breakthroughs in Burundi – Innovations in Candle Water Filters and Insulating Rocket Stoves
Join the Zoom Meeting, Monday, November 22, at 10:00am, New York time, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84767837460?pwd=K2JvU3F6RWtlbUtyODlIaFlaU1lBQT09


Candle water filter and rocket stove production by local potters has not been viewed as viable. This is because of such factors as the quality and consistency of the product and low production output. Two recent innovations in the means of production have significantly addressed these factors.These are nature-based technologies of candle water filters and insulating rocket stoves that will empower those in need with livelihoods. They will reduce their community’s exposure to waterborne and airborne pollution


Disclaimer: Any claims in an RWSN member eXchange article or video have not been verified and any views presented or services provided the individual organisation does not mean that they are endorsed by RWSN or any of it executive partners or Secretariat.

Rats! Village level ecological-based rodent management

by Meheretu Yonas, Luwieke Bosma and Frank van Steenbergen

Find out more from Meta Meta Research

Hygiene is arguably the more forgotten component in WASH. Within WASH, water and sanitation systems have received much attention and there have been important programs to promote hand washing and menstrual health and hygiene, rightly so. But several other dimensions of hygiene do not get the attention they deserve, in particular village pests that carry common diseases which they transmit to humans through direct contact, food contamination or other pathways.

Pest rodents (rats and mice) are important carriers of pathogens that cause diseases in humans and domestic animals. Different rodents have different behaviour and have different propensities to transmit those diseases. Some rodents, like the roof rat (Rattus rattus), prefer to live in the houses and storage areas. Other rodents may prefer the fields.

There are about 60 known diseases transmitted to humans and animals by rodents. Examples of diseases and parasites of public health importance include leptospirosis, salmonellosis, giardiasis, murine typhus (rickettsia), capillariasis and other helminths intermittently shed by rodents. For instance, salmonellosis is the cause of 25% of all diarrhoea cases worldwide. Leptospirosis affects more than one million people annually and cause more deaths than Ebola for instance.

We advocate that integrating a Village Level Ecologically Based Rodent Management (vEBRM) approach with the activities of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) helps improve nutrition, food safety and public health in the villages in Africa and Asia. vEBRM requires awareness and understanding of rodent habits and a change in people’s behaviour, as people often create the ideal conditions for rodents to multiply. Hence, vEBRM does not seek to just exterminate the rodents, but to control their access to food, their habitats, and movements and to make use of natural enemies.

Here are three important aspects:

Aspect 1: Rodents damage and contaminate food. They are a major cause of human diseases through a multitude of transmission pathways and infect livestock as well. They may attack people, especially children and the elderly. They consume food stores, damage property and some rodents will spread bad smells and create annoying noise.

Aspect 2: Inadequate waste disposal, grain and cattle feed storage methods aid the proliferation of rodent populations in villages thereby heightening public health issues.

Aspect 3: One cannot do this alone: like community WASH, vEBRM needs a systematic collective effort.

Here are the 10 Key Rules in vEBRM:

  1. Communities should first appreciate the fact that rodents are a problem for both agriculture and public health, and that it is possible to reduce rodent populations to close to zero.
  2. Collaborative, community-based participation is imperative at all stages of household and community-level sanitary and hygienic activities and in the introduction of proper storage and house construction to create a healthy village free of rodents. Adequate cleaning, trash removal and rodent-proof trash containers are necessary.
  3. Establish robust community awareness campaigns to achieve people’s behavioural changes towards rodents, food and grain storage methods and household and community-level waste disposal so that rodents are denied access to food and harbourage.
  4. Ensure regular inspection of houses, storage areas and gardens. Immediately repair openings where rodents passthrough and take shelter, such as fencing and stone-bunds. When observed, immediately remove any harbourage, rat runways, climbing spots, etc. It is important to understand that rodents are neo-phobic and learn the locations of new objects, food sources and escape routes very quickly.
  5. Traditional brooming is a special point of attention: especially hard brooms in rodent infested households have the potential to spread rodent-associated RNA viruses and bacteria by contaminated aerosols and arthropod vectors. Hence:
    1. Ensure minimal dust blows while sweeping using water and soft brooms.
    1. Use cloth or facemask to cover the mouth and nose.
  6. Construct storage houses and materials in such a way that it is impossible for rodents to enter (Fig. 3). Ensure that roofs, doors, and windows are fit tightly, and gaps and flaws are avoided. When detected, gaps and flaws should be sealed immediately with rodent-proof material. Interrupters may also be used.
  7. Make sure some of the most sensitive household items are protected from rodents:
    • Store food, grain, drinking water, household utensils in rodent-proof containers and cabinets to avoid persistent household-level re-infestations.
    • Store children/infant food, water and feeding utensils (such as plastic infant/children feeding bottles) in safe containers at all times.
  8. Encourage keeping domestic cats (and dogs) at household level (see Fig. 1) and discourage chasing and prosecution of natural predators of rodents (such as birds of prey, wild cats, mongoose, snakes).
  9. If after all these measures rodent infestation persists: use mechanical killing methods (local and commercial traps), flood rodent burrows, and use proven biorodenticides (ecologically sustainable rodenticides originated from plant materials) or selected chemical rodenticides to manage rodent populations. Avoid using chemical rodenticides that have no user application information and production and expiry dates.
  10. Establish and implement strict village (or neighbourhood) bylaws and rules to ensure household and neighbourhood sanitation and hygiene. Use a record-keeping system that lets the community know who are not respecting the bylaws, who are the offenders. Besides, develop and implement community strategy for a solid waste disposal system (including recycling). Additionally, introduce mandatory “one pit waste each, per household and per village” rule in the village bylaws. Organize groups and committees that create awareness about community sanitation and hygiene and are responsible for enforcing the bylaws. Assign responsible bodies for trash removal and maintenance of communal trash containers and trash dumping areas (pits).

Photo credit: Meta Meta Research “Cats, one of the natural predators to control rodent populations”

Rural Community Water Supply: Sustainable Services for All

Covid-19 gave me the chance to commit to paper (or electronic form, if you prefer) some of my understanding and experience gained over several decades. The outcome is a book, published earlier this year, entitled Rural Community Water Supply: Sustainable Services for All.

by Professor Richard C. Carter

Richard encountering some resistance in Kaabong, Uganda (photo. RC Carter)

Many hundreds of millions of rural people – the exact number is not known, and it is immaterial, except that it probably lies between one and two billion – experience inadequacies in the supply of the water which they use for drinking and other domestic uses.

These inadequacies are partly reflected in the ‘normative criteria’ as defined by the human right to water which apply to water services globally. These criteria ask whether and to what extent water services are available, accessible, affordable and acceptable, and whether their quality meets national or international standards. They also highlight the importance of cross-cutting criteria (non-discrimination, participation, accountability, impact, and sustainability).

Continue reading “Rural Community Water Supply: Sustainable Services for All”

New from WaterAid: Piped water supply services: strengthening management models in rural and small town contexts

Re-blogged from WaterAid

Many governments have set ambitious targets for reaching people with piped water services. Providing water taps in people’s homes is one way of achieving safely managed access in line with the Sustainable Development Goal for water. But installing more household taps must come with stronger efforts to professionalise service management, ensure adequate levels of support, and that services are inclusive. Without paying sufficient attention to these and other aspects, there is a risk that piped water supply services will under-perform in low income areas, resulting in poor service levels and lost investment. There are, of course, alternatives to tapped water supplies, and these should be considered where a piped service is not viable.

This publication is the second in a series focused on management models for piped water services in rural and small town settings. The first publication, Management models for piped water services, set out the factors that affect the sustainability of piped water, presenting ten different management models. This publication is a decision-making resource and is designed to help practitioners select or strengthen management arrangements for piped water supplies in different contexts. It compares the viability of the ten management models against the following four variables:

  • Commercial viability and economies of scale
  • Technical complexity, connectedness and local capacity 
  • Sector policy, legislation and financing arrangements
  • Regulation and accountability mechanisms, local preferences, and ensuring inclusive services for all

Top image: Nawoli Jesca, 25, commercial officer, and Nkundizana Julius, 25, team leader of the Busolwe Piped Water Supply System check on a pipe to the main water reservoir in Butaleja District, Uganda, November 2018. 

Download

3 ways to improve water security for climate resilience

1. More accurate and granular analysis of climate risk is needed to increase relevance of climate information
2. Metrics for monitoring climate resilience in water systems are critical to track progress and inform investments for water security
3. New institutional models that improve water security will be critical for climate resilience

Dr. Katrina Charles, REACH Co-Director

In case you missed it, last week REACH launched its new Water Security for Climate Resilience Report, synthesising six years of interdisciplinary research on climate resilience and water security in Africa and Asia. You can also read a summary of the full report with recommendations.

The REACH programme has been partnering with RWSN since 2015.

Water security and climate resilience are interlinked.

This may seem like a simple statement, but in reality it is a complex relationship. Water security and climate resilience are both about managing risks – from water-related issues and climate-related hazards, respectively – to achieve better outcomes for all sectors of society. There are intuitive relationships at large scales, but underlying them are complexities shaped by the environment, and our interactions with it.

Climate change headlines often focus on temperature increases. These changes will be significant and have severe impacts as highlighted by the heatwaves in recent weeks in North AmericaPakistan and India. These increases in temperature come with dramatic changes to our weather, in turn affecting the complex water systems that are essential to so much of our lives and our planet. Floods and droughts are the most visceral example of this impact, which also receive regular coverage on the news. But climate change is affecting water security for humans and ecosystems in many more subtle ways.

Climate change is impacting our drinking water supplies. There is a limit to how much capacity they have to absorb weather extremes, especially for smaller systems. Heavy rainfall is linked to many major waterborne outbreaks in developed countries. A major drought led to severe water rationing in Cape Town in 2018, nearly causing the city’s taps to run dry, known as Day Zero. The report highlights that for smaller water systems that people outside cities rely on the impact of weather is often less clear, but the evidence is that there is limited climate resilience.

Water quality varies with weather. Rainfall increases the mobility of faecal contamination, with different types of system more vulnerable to heavy rainfall, exposing the users to diseases such as typhoid. Without reliable water supplies, people use a range of water sources to meet their water needs year-round, trading off risks between reliable water supplies that might be saline or expensive, with seasonal but unsafe water sources. Climate change will increase weather extremes leading to increased contamination and less reliability.

Fresh water scarcity is increasing. Industrialisation and urbanisation are increasing both the demand for fresh water and its pollution, with toxic compounds that are difficult to remove. Climate change is amplifying these threats by reducing the availability of reliable water, increasing salinity, especially in coastal areas, and changing river flows that flush saline and polluted water. Reduced river flows from changing rainfall patterns will increase exposure to pollution for those who rely on river water for washing and bathing, and increase saline intrusion from the coast. Building resilience requires better management of fresh water resources to reduce the increasing contamination that is making water harder to treat.

Women using river water for washing in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Credit: Sonia Hoque
Women using river water for washing in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Credit: Sonia Hoque

To build the adaptive capacity of water systems to cope with changes in climate, climate information needs to be available to water managers at the appropriate spatial and temporal scale. Ensembles of global climate models provide useful information about global climate, but analysis is needed to identify the relevant climate models that best capture local climate. More investment is needed to provide the tools that water managers need to make informed decisions to increase climate resilience, such as accurate projections at local scales and seasonal forecasting based on understanding of local climate drivers. The information needed varies for different users, but is critical to build resilience for managers of small water systems, reservoirs, and basins.

The report synthesises six years of interdisciplinary research by the REACH team across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Collaborations in our Water Security Observatories have allowed us to understand how water security risks are experienced, how inequalities are created and reproduced with new policies, and how new tools and science can support better decision making. The report highlights the impact the REACH programme has achieved with funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), in partnership with UNICEF, for the benefit of millions of people. It concludes with three recommendations for to advance water security for climate resilience:

  1. More accurate and granular analysis of climate risk is needed to increase relevance of climate information
  2. Metrics for monitoring climate resilience in water systems are critical to track progress and inform investments for water security
  3. New institutional models that improve water security will be critical for climate resilience

Climate change will increasingly affect water availability and quality, with devastating consequences for the most vulnerable. Improving water security is critical to build resilience to the changing climate.

El camino hacia el desarrollo de herramientas para el manejo de activos

Esta entrada fue realizada por PRACTICA Foundation como miembro de la RWSN.

En el ultimo post, se mostraron las herramientas para el manejo de activos que se estan desarrollando por la Alianza WASH Internacional. Las experiencias previas demostraron que utilizar un enfoque basado en los usuarios es importante para incrementar el impacto de los proyectos. Para este caso, las actividades principales incluyeron un mapeo de usuarios y sus necesidades, diseño de herramientas y pruebas en campo asi como su promocion en las comunidades.

Aditi Goyal, coordinadora de Smart-tech se refiere al proceso de diseño como uno basado en pequeñas iteraciones.

“Hay muchas maneras de llegar al mismo punto. Lo importante es llegar a donde el usuario necesita que lleguemos

Ella se refiere a las características, usabilidad y adaptabilidad de las herramientas que se están desarrollando. Destacando la importancia de escuchar los puntos de vista de todos los actores que se encuentra involucrados en el proyecto. De experiencias previas, Aditi está consciente que los primeros borradores siempre tienden a ser completamente diferentes a lo que se entregan como producto final. Sin embargo, el proceso de confrontar y discutir las ideas conlleva a una etapa de maduración de las mismas.

El proceso

A continuación, se presenta el proceso que se ha adoptado para el desarrollo de las herramientas para el manejo de activos:

1. Mapeo de usuarios y sus necesidades

El proceso comienza con trabajo de campo, interactuando con las comunidades locales para entender el contexto en el cual se van a utilizar las herramientas. Este proceso incluye un mapeo de quienes serán los usuarios finales, definir sus características en relación a sus medios de vida, conexión a internet, nivel educación y a la manera en la que actualmente obtienen y utilizan la información relacionada a sus sistemas de agua. Definitivamente, esto contribuye a determinar acertadamente cuales son las características de las herramientas que harán la vida de los usuarios mas fácil.  Un enfoque participativo e inclusivo asegura que los grupos vulnerables sean tomados en cuenta durante todo el proceso.

2. Diseño y desarrollo del producto

En esta sección se aborda la forma final que tendrán las herramientas, así como su contenido. Este proceso se lleva a cabo por medio de múltiples iteraciones que deben incluir a todos los actores. De acuerdo a la experiencia de la Alianza WASH Internacional, un buen mapeo de necesidades siempre facilita el proceso de diseño. Comúnmente, este proceso se lleva a cabo por medio de trabajo de campo. Sin embargo, debido a las restricciones impuesta por la pandemia de Covid-19, esto no fue posible para este proyecto.

3. Pruebas, promoción y entrega de las herramientas.

Este proceso no se ha realizado aún. Una vez que las herramientas hayan sido programadas y probadas por las organizaciones locales en Nepal (CIUD y Lumanti) se va a identificar y a proveer de apoyo técnico a una institución local que se encargue de implementar y adoptar las herramientas en todo el país. La aplicación web, el tablero de control y la herramienta de aprendizaje online serán circuladas con todos los grupos para los que ha sido diseñada. Las herramientas se encuentran en un ambiente publico para permitir cambios y mejoras conforme son necesarios (para este proyecto, el ambiente de Moodle ha sido seleccionado). El software recibirá mantenimiento por los próximos 5 años, por la misma compañía que lo desarrollo.

Lecciones aprendidas…hasta ahora.

Algunas reflexiones finales han sido obtenidas de las discusiones que han tomado lugar en el proyecto.

Los comentarios de los usuarios son de suma importancia para lograr herramientas robustas. El equipo de diseño necesita pasar tiempo en el campo, entrevistando a los futuros usuarios y entendiendo las necesidades reales. Muchas veces, lo que creemos que necesitan los usuarios, tiende a ser completamente diferente a lo que realmente necesitan. Flexibilidad, comunicación y buena planeación ayudan a solventar las dificultades en los proyectos. Por ejemplo, para este proyecto no fue posible realizar trabajo de campo debido a las restricciones impuestas por Covid-19. Para superar esto Smart-tech distribuyó las herramientas con el personal de campo para verificar su usabilidad y obtener comentarios con respecto a su implementación en condiciones reales. Estas acciones incrementan la comunicación entre los actores involucrados, ayudando a alcanzar las metas de una manera mas eficiente. Como se refiere Aditi:

‘Tener una planeación adecuada ha sido importante para el proyecto, ya que permite monitorear los productos y revisar si se han alcanzado las metas en tiempo y forma’

Agradecimiento especial para Aditi Goyal por su participación al proveer información para este blog. Este documento has sido creado por la Fundación Practica como miembro de la Alianza WASH Internacional, como p arte del Consorcio WASH SDG. Para mas información por favor contactar: info@practica.org; o visita http://www.practica.org. Foto: CIUD Nepal.